From the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland:
Baltimore, Maryland – Craig Allen Shepperd, age 37, of Whitehall, Maryland, pleaded guilty late last Friday, October 21, 2011, to threatening to murder a federal law enforcement officer.
The plea agreement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Mark Chait of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Baltimore Field Division; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Chief John J. Hohman of the Baltimore County Fire Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
“ATF agents, along other federal, state, and local law enforcement officers put their lives on the line everyday to reduce violent crime, and keep peace in our communities,” says ATF Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Chait. “ATF will not tolerate anyone who threatens the peace of our citizens, or those who have sworn to protect them.”
According to Sheppard’s plea agreement, the Baltimore County Police Department and ATF identified Shepperd as a primary suspect in the arson of a horse barn that had burned down at 2808 Shepperd Road in Monkton, Maryland on August 26, 2010.
On March 8, 2011, a Baltimore County detective and an ATF Task Force officer (TFO) went to the Baltimore County Detention Center where Shepperd had been detained to serve a state indictment on Shepperd, charging him with arson. Shepperd became very agitated and stated that he was a marksman and a very good hunter. Shepperd stated that he would shoot the TFO in the head. Shepperd further stated that when he got out of jail, he would meet the TFO at a restaurant and neither of them would come out alive. Shepperd held his hand up imitating a pistol, pointed directly at the TFO and motioned as if pulling a trigger. Shepperd also stated that he was going to create a scene and when the TFO responded, Shepperd would be waiting in the woods to shoot the TFO in the head.
The TFO identified himself as a Federal Task Officer and Shepperd stated that he already knew that. The TFO had been appointed as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal and Task Force Officer with ATF since 2009.
Investigators also obtained recordings of conversations Shepperd had with an individual and his father in which Shepperd repeats and confirms his threats to murder the TFO.
As part of the plea agreement, Shepperd and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Shepperd will be sentenced to eight years in prison. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles scheduled sentencing for February 12, 2012. Shepherd is presently in state custody on unrelated charges.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore County Police Department, Baltimore County Fire Department and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney A. David Copperthite, who is prosecuting the case.